A Smooth HDV Workflow for iMovie / Final Cut Pro HD

A Smooth HDV Workflow for iMovie / Final Cut Pro HD
an article by Frederic Haubrich

Frederic is one of our HDV Info Net Community moderators.

Last night I was playing with the new iMovie 5 ($79, free on new Macs) and figured out a very nice HDV workflow for Mac users. First of all, it is important to mention that when installing the new iMovie, the Apple Intermediate Codec shows up in the QuickTime codec list. This portion is key to this solution. Here’s the workflow:

1. Capture a whole HDV (1080i or 720p) tape in iMovie.

Features scene detection, capture, demux and auto encode to the Apple Intermediate Codec. Audio sync is perfect because it isn’t using the buggy MPEG2 QuickTime Component.

2. Show package content and move the media to a dedicated FCP folder.

CTRL-Click on the iMovie project file and all your captured clips will reside in the media folder in the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC).

3. Import all the mov (Apple Intermediate Codec) into FCP.

You can simply import the AIC movs in FCP HD. They will play in realtime in full resolution (720p or 1080i). You will get a warning that the clips aren’t optimized for FCP HD, ignore it for now.

4. Setup a sequence using the appropriate Apple Intermediate Codec format (1080i or 720p).

It is important to setup a proper sequence in FCP HD that matches the HDV specs. Clicking on ‘Advance’ for the compressor will allow you to set the codec to 720p or 1080i or other (more coming soon…)

5. Edit in realtime in FCP full res HD.

At this point, you can edit your clips in full res and realtime. Even FX are realtime! It is a bit buggy but if you preferred the proxy approach you could always use media manager to make a DV or DVCPRO HD version of your project for true realtime.

6. Output timeline to Apple Intermediate Codec.

Finsihed editing in realtime… simply render your timeline to the AIC in the proper resolution.

7. Import the final render in iMovie.

Import that AIC file into iMovie. As long as it is the AIC, it’ll import fine.

8. Output the imported final render from iMovie to the HDV camera (1080i or 720p).

Send it back to the camera (Sony or JVC) in full HDV resolution.

The AIC HDV 720p is 4.0 MB/sec (1:24:21 clip = 343.4 MB), which is not bad at all. The m2ts and m2vs files are automatically deleted. That’s it, a perfectly workable HDV workflow for Mac users. Not very much unlike the Cineform approach to HDV for PC users.

Written by Frederic Haubrich.
Thrown together by Chris Hurd.

Please direct questions to the HDV Info Net Community Forums.

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